Death Is But a Dream
The first book to validate the meaningful dreams and visions that bring comfort as death nears. Christopher Kerr is a hospice doctor. All of his patients die. Yet he has cared for thousands of patients who, in the face of death, speak of love and grace. Beyond the physical realities of dying are unseen processes that are remarkably life-affirming. These include dreams that are unlike any regular dream. Described as "more real than real," these end-of-life experiences resurrect past relationships, meaningful events and themes of love and forgiveness; they restore life's meaning and mark the transition from distress to comfort and acceptance.Drawing on interviews with over 1,400 patients and more than a decade of quantified data, Dr. Kerr reveals that pre-death dreams and visions are extraordinary occurrences that humanize the dying process. He shares how his patients' stories point to death as not solely about the end of life, but as the final chapter of humanity's transcendence. Kerr's book also illuminates the benefits of these phenomena for the bereaved, who find solace in seeing their loved ones pass with a sense of calm closure.Beautifully written, with astonishing real-life characters and stories, this book is at its heart a celebration of our power to reclaim the dying process as a deeply meaningful one. Death Is But a Dream is an important contribution to our understanding of medicine's and humanity's greatest mystery.

Death Is But a Dream Details

TitleDeath Is But a Dream
Author
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherAvery Publishing Group
ISBN-139780525542841
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Death, Science

Death Is But a Dream Review

  • Olive
    January 1, 1970
    Christopher Kerr is a physician at a hospice facility. When he started working there years ago, he began to discover how common it was for patients closely nearing death to have very similar dreams, normally including deceased loved ones or moments from their pasts. This book discusses that phenomenon and the studies of it conducted at Kerr's hospice facility, but most importantly, it is full of patients' stories. Stories of war veterans dealing with their still-present PTSD through their Christopher Kerr is a physician at a hospice facility. When he started working there years ago, he began to discover how common it was for patients closely nearing death to have very similar dreams, normally including deceased loved ones or moments from their pasts. This book discusses that phenomenon and the studies of it conducted at Kerr's hospice facility, but most importantly, it is full of patients' stories. Stories of war veterans dealing with their still-present PTSD through their dreams, stories of widows and widowers dreaming of finally joining their beloved, and stories of trauma survivors having vivid dreams that expressed what they had most wanted out of life. These stories seem to point at the brain's extraordinary ability to resolve a lifetime's worth of love, pain, regrets, and joys to give us closure at the end. The book is incredible. Beautifully written, it felt like a continuation of the conversation started by Atul Gawande in his book, Being Mortal. If you liked Being Mortal and If Breath Becomes Air, this one is for you!
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  • Tommy Estlund
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly good book. I appreciated the rawness, the openness with which the author shared the stories in this book.
  • Jane Morse
    January 1, 1970
    Warning: Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End by Dr. Christopher Kerr brought me to the verge of tears many times over. Second Warning: It is an immensely important book, so do not avoid it just because it is about death and dying. Dr. Christopher Kerr, a hospice doctor whose long experience with dying patients gives the book enormous credibility, collected narratives of his patients' pre-death dreams and visions over many years. He and his team interviewed patients of Warning: Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End by Dr. Christopher Kerr brought me to the verge of tears many times over. Second Warning: It is an immensely important book, so do not avoid it just because it is about death and dying. Dr. Christopher Kerr, a hospice doctor whose long experience with dying patients gives the book enormous credibility, collected narratives of his patients' pre-death dreams and visions over many years. He and his team interviewed patients of all ages and their relatives (of course with informed consent) and filmed many of the interviews. His first-hand knowledge in a subject that often is difficult for people to face informs his work. With the help his co-author Carine Mardorossian (and other editors and friends whom he mentions), Dr. Kerr distilled his knowledge into a very readable account of what his patients experience as they approach death. His study, informed by scientific protocols and accompanied by narratives in patients' and families' own words, tells of the redemptive power of love which permeates their stories. Dr. Kerr calls these pre-death experiences "dreams," but acknowledges that "visions" might be a better word because of their surreal qualities; patients often feel the very real presence of deceased relatives and friends (and even beloved pets in the case of children) as they themselves approach death. Dr. Kerr tells his readers that he is not writing about a religious belief in an afterlife, but of the last experiences of life itself, which become hopeful and comforting at the end in the presence of love and acceptance. Dr. Kerr's story is also about himself, his growth as a young doctor, and his ultimate realization that listening to patients' stories and those of their families allows doctors to do their work well, whether they are hospice doctors or not. Dr. Kerr's own humanity permeates his book in the process; his humility in the face of the courage and the transformation he has witnessed in his dying patients is part of the story. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to develop a clearer understanding of what makes death bearable, and maybe especially to doctors, although I think grieving families will benefit the most. I have just turned 80, so I have seen my share of death; the book explained some things, raised some questions, and offered me some comfort in my grief for those I have lost.
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  • Joel C.
    January 1, 1970
    Disclosure: I am acquainted with Dr. Kerr through my spouse' employment with the organization he directs. Having stated this, let me say that this in no way impacts my thoughts on how revealing this work is. Under his careful direction Dr. Kerr and his team set out to explore the "scientific" validation of end of life experiences in a manner that would allow the medical and related main stream medical community to at the least begin an acceptance of these experiences as having a valid place in Disclosure: I am acquainted with Dr. Kerr through my spouse' employment with the organization he directs. Having stated this, let me say that this in no way impacts my thoughts on how revealing this work is. Under his careful direction Dr. Kerr and his team set out to explore the "scientific" validation of end of life experiences in a manner that would allow the medical and related main stream medical community to at the least begin an acceptance of these experiences as having a valid place in the decision making that goes on with the delivery of care and treatment during the dying process. While I am not certain he accomplished this goal, I do feel that he and the research team have given credence to these end of life experiences as how they can impact not only the dying but those left in the wake of going through this process. It does not matter if this is a loved one, a close friend, a caregiver, or the treating physician. Throughout the work, I found one theme persisting. The need to listen. It is a simple act that takes only time and patience and a willingness to put aside an agenda and do it. Taking the time to get invested in a dying individual is not always granted in this day of care delivery, but I feel that Dr. Kerr has been able to express that, in doing so, he and subsequently the values he brings to his role with Hospice Buffalo, have benefited and grown beyond what he thought possible as a younger physician. The read is emotional if you have lived through the process with someone close, is revealing if you are going through the process, or educational if you wish to understand a slice of life that many try strongly to avoid out of fear or uncertainty. I feel it opens the mind to a greater and fuller understanding of the dying process. I would recommend without hesitation.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Kerr is a rare find in humanity. His MD PhD is not what defines his connection with people it is his obvious compassion for all sentient beings. Having worked with and taught many in various "helping" professions over a 40 year period I've yet to meet so well-rounded and dedicated a person to seeing and serving life thoroughly. Death is but a Dream is more than a book about finding hope and meaning at the end of life it is to see that death is part of life and provides for life bigger than Dr. Kerr is a rare find in humanity. His MD PhD is not what defines his connection with people it is his obvious compassion for all sentient beings. Having worked with and taught many in various "helping" professions over a 40 year period I've yet to meet so well-rounded and dedicated a person to seeing and serving life thoroughly. Death is but a Dream is more than a book about finding hope and meaning at the end of life it is to see that death is part of life and provides for life bigger than most of us consider. Working in the field of hospice care since 1985 has given me the opportunity to see many folks and have many experiences. This book resonated so deeply with my personal and professional life I've now sent copies to two of my dearest colleagues who will also likely resonate at deep levels. There once was an organization primarily for expanding physicians' consciousness beyond the medical realm - The Society for Health and Human Values - was its name. Chris's book is the essence of both health (in all it's forms) and human/humane values I so hope the world today might find even before death.
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  • Angie Russo
    January 1, 1970
    I dont even have the spoons to write a complete review, but I was expecting something authentic and instead was served Chicken Soup for the Soul. First, I highly doubt there were no patients who struggled in their final days. The book paints such a rosy picture of dying, as if literally every patient at Hospice Buffalo just serenely fell asleep after comforting visions. What isnt said is sometimes as important as what is said - so why not give a full picture or anything reflecting that this can I don’t even have the spoons to write a complete review, but I was expecting something authentic and instead was served Chicken Soup for the Soul. First, I highly doubt there were no patients who struggled in their final days. The book paints such a rosy picture of dying, as if literally every patient at Hospice Buffalo just serenely fell asleep after comforting visions. What isn’t said is sometimes as important as what is said - so why not give a full picture or anything reflecting that this can be a hard painful process? What are they hiding? An angel of mercy on staff? Second, the part where the book really went off the rails for me was the deification of the “crooked cop.” Allegedly, this guy confessed that he planted evidence and ruined lives, yet, tra la la, F those people who he harmed, he is The Good Guy, especially when contrasted with the gentleman who was homeless, an addict, and had been incarcerated. He is presented as The Criminal. I can’t even.
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  • Carrie Bramen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written book about the significance of end-of-life dreams for the dying as a way to prepare one for death. Written by the head of Buffalo Hospice, Dr. Christopher Kerr-along with Professor Carine Mardorossian--recounts powerful stories of dying patients from all walks of life describing the vivid dreams they have of long-deceased relatives and friends. While many of these pre-death dreams are comforting, they can also be deeply distressing, triggering traumatic memories This is a beautifully written book about the significance of end-of-life dreams for the dying as a way to prepare one for death. Written by the head of Buffalo Hospice, Dr. Christopher Kerr-along with Professor Carine Mardorossian--recounts powerful stories of dying patients from all walks of life describing the vivid dreams they have of long-deceased relatives and friends. While many of these pre-death dreams are comforting, they can also be deeply distressing, triggering traumatic memories from one's past. Interwoven with the accounts of his patients is Dr. Kerr's own story about his personal transformation from a conventionally trained cardiologist to a hospice doctor, a transformation that stemmed from his own alienation with the medical establishment's aversion to death and its investment in medicalizing the process of dying. Highly recommended for all.
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  • Lou Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Disturbing to read the review by Angela Russo. The fact that someone can render such strong opinions that are refuted by fact is wrong. Angela please read the chapter on the cop which begins by saying that nothing in this book is meant to suggest that all end of life experiences are are pleasant, in fact 18% arent. If you dont believe the author maybe you can read The NY Times article in which the reporter actually interviewed the cop. If that isnt enough data for you maybe watch the hours of Disturbing to read the review by Angela Russo. The fact that someone can render such strong opinions that are refuted by fact is wrong. Angela please read the chapter on the cop which begins by saying that nothing in this book is meant to suggest that all end of life experiences are are pleasant, in fact 18% aren’t. If you don’t believe the author maybe you can read The NY Times article in which the reporter actually interviewed the cop. If that isn’t enough data for you maybe watch the hours of patient video or check out the documentary or upcoming Netflix production, all of which are referenced in the book. While critical thought is admirable, down right ignorance and gum flapping isn’t. Stick to books with pictures.
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  • Shannon K
    January 1, 1970
    "End-of-life experiences testify to our greatest needs -- to love and be loved, to be nurtured and feel connected, to be remembered and forgiven."Hospice doctor, Christopher Kerr, has spent years listening to and learning from those in his care, collecting the stories they share about the dreams they have as they are nearing death. In Death Is But A Dream he shares some of these stories and demonstrates some of the common themes that have emerged from these experiences.I really enjoyed getting "End-of-life experiences testify to our greatest needs -- to love and be loved, to be nurtured and feel connected, to be remembered and forgiven."Hospice doctor, Christopher Kerr, has spent years listening to and learning from those in his care, collecting the stories they share about the dreams they have as they are nearing death. In Death Is But A Dream he shares some of these stories and demonstrates some of the common themes that have emerged from these experiences.I really enjoyed getting to know some of Dr. Kerr's patients and their stories and pre-death experiences and seeing what a lot of them had in common. One of the main things that disappointed me, however, was the lack of quantitative data that was shared in conjunction with the patient experiences, given that it was specifically mentioned in the synopsis. I think it would've added another important layer to the research. In addition, at times, I felt that at times the stories got repetitive, making it a bit of a slower read than I'd have liked. That being said, there were a lot of poignant stories and some that really moved me. It's definitely a book that will make you think about life and love!Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review!3/5 stars
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  • Darcy Thiel, LMHC, ALCM
    January 1, 1970
    I have the privilege of knowing Dr. Christopher Kerr. There are few people, if any, that I respect more. His book "Death is But a Dream" is an educational, moving and inspirational work on a shamefully long-overdue topic. Our medical system is sorely lacking, from initial education of professionals on down. Dr. Kerr's work has the potential to make the cultural shift our society is in desperate need of. I have walked with several on their journey to what lies beyond this life. I wish I would I have the privilege of knowing Dr. Christopher Kerr. There are few people, if any, that I respect more. His book "Death is But a Dream" is an educational, moving and inspirational work on a shamefully long-overdue topic. Our medical system is sorely lacking, from initial education of professionals on down. Dr. Kerr's work has the potential to make the cultural shift our society is in desperate need of. I have walked with several on their journey to what lies beyond this life. I wish I would have had this knowledge before so I could have done a better job of helping folks find their peace. I can't speak highly enough of the book and feel even more strongly about the author and the integrity that he exudes as a doctor and a human being.
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  • Rmatzuki
    January 1, 1970
    I lost my mother in Hospice care years ago and I wish this book was something that I had read before her passing or at least way before now. I can tell you that all these years later it has brought me more peace than I have ever had related to her passing. It should be mandatory reading for all Hospice doctors and nurses because this is information that has never been brought to my attention before. My mother went through many of these same experiences and never was she or my family given and I lost my mother in Hospice care years ago and I wish this book was something that I had read before her passing or at least way before now. I can tell you that all these years later it has brought me more peace than I have ever had related to her passing. It should be mandatory reading for all Hospice doctors and nurses because this is information that has never been brought to my attention before. My mother went through many of these same experiences and never was she or my family given and validation and it just makes so much more sense than to ignore it. There had to be more to it! Thank you for bringing attention to this!
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  • RMcAnulty
    January 1, 1970
    This book was hard to put down. The true stories are beautifully written by Dr. Kerr as the best of humanity is told through the people in this book. End of life experiences that are described will bring comfort to anyone that has lost a loved one or knows someone heading toward the end of their life. The book is impressive in that it provides scenarios for every walk of life whether it be old married couples, those that have dedicated themselves to service, children, or even those that have This book was hard to put down. The true stories are beautifully written by Dr. Kerr as the best of humanity is told through the people in this book. End of life experiences that are described will bring comfort to anyone that has lost a loved one or knows someone heading toward the end of their life. The book is impressive in that it provides scenarios for every walk of life whether it be old married couples, those that have dedicated themselves to service, children, or even those that have cognitive issues. The individuals that have so graciously given their amazing stories and described their end of life experiences reassure those of us that are still here.
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  • Colette Matthews
    January 1, 1970
    In reading this heartwarming book makes you realize the intelligent, kind and warm hearted author who is a special human being. He brings people to life with a glimpse of their lives and their final days. I cried at their trials and heartbreaking ride through life. Dr Kerrs insight into what they were going through and their final journey was gripping. He shows a warm insight into their lives. Dr Kerr ended up at hospice because of a need and turned out to be a gem for Hospice and ESPECIALLY for In reading this heartwarming book makes you realize the intelligent, kind and warm hearted author who is a special human being. He brings people to life with a glimpse of their lives and their final days. I cried at their trials and heartbreaking ride through life. Dr Kerr’s insight into what they were going through and their final journey was gripping. He shows a warm insight into their lives. Dr Kerr ended up at hospice because of a need and turned out to be a gem for Hospice and ESPECIALLY for his patients.
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  • Linda Militello
    January 1, 1970
    A guide for anyone who fears death of self or loved onesThrough poignant patient and family dying experiences, Dr. Kerr removes some of the mystery in the last part of living. Death is but a Dream should be read by everyone who will die. For 40 years as an R.N., I have watched patients, friends, and family die in hospitals, at home and in Hospice care. Dr. Kerr exemplifies the dedication to comfort and peace provided to patients in Hospice.
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  • Susan Guindon
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Kerr has given us an exceptional gift with the writing of Death is But a Dream. Heartwarming and heartbreaking accounts of hospice patients during their end of life journey, prove that the dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life. After reading, universal fears concerning death melt away and absolute truths of life become very clear. Amazing read! I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all.
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  • JMac
    January 1, 1970
    A book that ALL should read! There is not a person on this planet that would not be touched and affected by this book and helped in some way. The stories and experiences shared are the stories of the patients, and Dr. Kerr thought it was important for their voices to be heard. It helped the dying accept there mortality with peace, grace and acceptance and allowed the family to do the same and gave them hope when there was just emptiness. I cant recommend enough. A book that ALL should read! There is not a person on this planet that would not be touched and affected by this book and helped in some way. The stories and experiences shared are the stories of the patients, and Dr. Kerr thought it was important for their voices to be heard. It helped the dying accept there mortality with peace, grace and acceptance and allowed the family to do the same and gave them hope when there was just emptiness. I can’t recommend enough.
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  • CaseyA
    January 1, 1970
    I truly cant say enough about this book and the impact it had on myself and I know it will have on others. Whether they are struggling with the loss of a loved one in the near future or who have had unresolved feelings of those deceased in the past, It gives hope and meaning and has ability to heal old wounds. Tissues are a must! I truly can’t say enough about this book and the impact it had on myself and I know it will have on others. Whether they are struggling with the loss of a loved one in the near future or who have had unresolved feelings of those deceased in the past, It gives hope and meaning and has ability to heal old wounds. Tissues are a must!
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  • Chris F
    January 1, 1970
    This book will have relevance to each and every one of us as we have all suffered the the loss of a loved one in the past or will at some point in our lifetime. The end of life experiences shared in this book will offer comfort not only for the dying but for their loved ones left behind. By giving relevance to these patients experiences it gave them the ability to pass with acceptance and peace and left families with hope rather than the feeling of ultimate finality. I am a hospice nurse and This book will have relevance to each and every one of us as we have all suffered the the loss of a loved one in the past or will at some point in our lifetime. The end of life experiences shared in this book will offer comfort not only for the dying but for their loved ones left behind. By giving relevance to these patient’s experiences it gave them the ability to pass with acceptance and peace and left families with hope rather than the feeling of ultimate finality. I am a hospice nurse and grateful to see these experiences documented and given the validity they’re due.
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  • Jeanne Marohn
    January 1, 1970
    A must read for any one facing the loss of a loved one. Hospice doctor Chris Kerr studied his dying patients to discover a common experience had by all...vivid dreams of loved ones who came to help them cross over. As Dr. Kerr brought me to his patiences bedside I began to understand that love holds us together. Their heartfelt stories told me there is no fear in dying as life is but a dream. A must read for any one facing the loss of a loved one. Hospice doctor Chris Kerr studied his dying patients to discover a common experience had by all...vivid dreams of loved ones who came to help them cross over. As Dr. Kerr brought me to his patience’s bedside I began to understand that love holds us together. Their heartfelt stories told me there is no fear in dying as life is but a dream.
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  • susan herold
    January 1, 1970
    This changes everything. What a beautiful gift to those approaching end of life, but it is also a gift to the families facing the loss of someone they love. The thread woven through the beautiful stories is always the same - it is about the relationships we cherish the most that will be most important at the end. Grateful for the reminder to cherish relationships now and forever ....
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  • Zach Steinberg
    January 1, 1970
    When sharing his patients end of life experiences, Dr. Kerr helps to give them validation while at the same time gives their loved ones peace and comfort that they are ok. And at the same time, the reader knows that when the time comes for us or our loved ones, we will be awarded that same comfort. Thank you for writing this book. When sharing his patient’s end of life experiences, Dr. Kerr helps to give them validation while at the same time gives their loved ones peace and comfort that they are ok. And at the same time, the reader knows that when the time comes for us or our loved ones, we will be awarded that same comfort. Thank you for writing this book.
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  • BruceB
    January 1, 1970
    I am an avid reader and my favorite book so far this year! Dr. Kerrs book is full of patient stories that reveal something, what it is is unknown, that gives not only patients what they need at the end of life to pass peacefully but also leaves those left behind with peace and eases the grieving process. I am an avid reader and my favorite book so far this year! Dr. Kerr’s book is full of patient stories that reveal something, what it is is unknown, that gives not only patients what they need at the end of life to pass peacefully but also leaves those left behind with peace and eases the grieving process.
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  • Kgriffon
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written book that anyone would benefit from reading. The stories are so touching and impactful and definitely made me think that there is another side to death, the closeness it can bring to a family within final months and days prior to death by the sharing and acceptance of these experiences.
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  • Jill MacSwan
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written. Dr. Kerr has the extraordinary ability to thoughtfully share his experiences with his patients and share their lives stories. He is able to take the uncomfortable topic of death and bring comfort to his readers. His delivery brings peace of mind for not only lost loved ones, but for those of us still here. A must read! Beautifully written. Dr. Kerr has the extraordinary ability to thoughtfully share his experiences with his patients and share their lives’ stories. He is able to take the uncomfortable topic of death and bring comfort to his readers. His delivery brings peace of mind for not only lost loved ones, but for those of us still here. A must read!
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  • Johan
    January 1, 1970
    Poignant, moving, sometimes funny, entirely interesting. An in-depth account of real research into the vivid dreams and visions of Hospice patients as they near lifes end. The book is built around these patients stories, it reads like a novel, and its hard to put down. An important book. Poignant, moving, sometimes funny, entirely interesting. An in-depth account of real research into the vivid dreams and visions of Hospice patients as they near life’s end. The book is built around these patient’s stories, it reads like a novel, and it’s hard to put down. An important book.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this book. It had a lot of insight into the experiences of people who are dying. I wish I had read it a few months ago. It would have helped us when my father was in hospice before he died last month.
  • TJohns
    January 1, 1970
    So excited to finally be able to read this book! The patients stories shared in this book are all so unique but each of them served a purpose for all the patients and their loved ones involved....to allow them to validate the life theyve lived and bring acceptance and meaning in our final days. So excited to finally be able to read this book! The patient’s stories shared in this book are all so unique but each of them served a purpose for all the patients and their loved ones involved....to allow them to validate the life they’ve lived and bring acceptance and meaning in our final days.
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  • PeterM
    January 1, 1970
    An emotional retelling of real end of life experiences that in some cases were so comforting, patients looked forward to death as they knew they would soon be with those that pre-deceased them. A great read and beautifully written.
  • HMags
    January 1, 1970
    I cried the entire time! Sometimes tears of happiness, sometimes tears of sadness and sometimes tears of relief! A MUST read.
  • Kashia Brosius
    January 1, 1970
    A must read! An eye opening view of death through the eyes of the living. Beautifully written
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